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By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (LowFatLowCarb.com)

When I coach clients on how to lose weight in the safest, fastest way it can feel like I have squeezed them into a pigeonhole. The pigeonhole is a very small compartment, and does not leave a lot of wiggle room.

What do I mean by that? When you are on a mission and journey to lose the weight you have put on, you have to be super strict on what you consume, so much so that you may feel like you are being punished.

I like to teach clients that they are not being punished by living in this tight space, but being rewarded with much better health, more energy and the ability to get back in the clothes they love. Isn’t that worth the sacrifices?

When I have a client in front of me who is having a hard time staying on the straight line, I remind them they will not be living in this pigeonhole forever, just temporarily. Once they reach their goals, I will open up the hole and teach them how to return to a more balanced eating plan. The NO’s they have been committed to can become YES’s again. There will be room for the pleasure foods, and moderation in drinking and enjoying some special events and holidays without guilt or remorse.

The best part will be learning to delight in foods again without gaining all your weight back. The key is education and learning how your body works with certain foods and drinks. Once you discover your body’s triggers, you can understand how to control what you put in your mouth, and learn to maintain the new you.

One more important note: once you open the door to the pigeonhole, that does not mean you need to go crazy. It does not need to be an all or none behavior. Allow your body to adjust to the foods you have not been consuming little by little. Test the water. Don’t just jump in. Your body will speak to you, if you will listen.

There will be some foods your body loves and some it won’t. That is normal, and a good check and balance system for you in your maintenance process. Chances are your taste buds will change while you’re losing the weight, and you will find yourself craving the good stuff more than the bad. That’s a good thing. Embrace your changes, and don’t feel mad in the process, it will be worth it in the end.

Do you feel like your diet is a punishment?